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Storm damage on City schools puts dent on strained school budget

Posted at 11:58 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 00:02:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As clean up continues after Thursday’s severe storms, hundreds are assessing the damage to their homes, cars and in the case of Richmond school officials, their schools.

The already struggling school system suffered significant damages to an estimated 10 buildings, mainly on the city’s Northside.

In total, school officials said they are looking at more than $777,000 in storm damages, including $45,000 in tree removal alone.

"That amount of damage is 15% of our entire capital budget that we've been allotted this year, the $5 million," said Richmond school board member Kim Gray.

Gray said funds are already limited to fix dilapidated buildings and aging heating and air conditioning units throughout the city.

On Monday night, school board members explored options to find additional funding to help pay for massive damages sustained Thursday night.

The most significant damage occurred at Mary Scott pre-kindergarten school, where a tree split the school's roof, destroying two classrooms and the buildings HVAC unit. Repairs are estimated to cost $475,000.

Mary Scott pre-kindergarten school

Mary Scott pre-kindergarten school

Linwood Holton Elementary also received approximately $225,000 in damage when a tree demolished the school's entire playground.

Swansboro Elementary, Ginter Park Elementary and John Marshall High School are also among schools that suffered minor damage during the storm.

Earlier this month, a fire caused $150,000 in damages to the G.H. Reid Elementary School playground. School leaders previously said it would be a challenge to find money to replace the equipment by the start of the next school year this fall.

While insurance is expected to pay a majority of the claims, school board members are hoping City Council can help with the 100,000 deductible.

“We will be exploring every avenue," said Gray. "In the past, we've had generous donors step forward when we lose playground equipment and things like that, maybe someone out there will hear our pleas and come forward with some much needed funds."

School officials say it’s possible miscellaneous items won’t be covered by insurance, including food spoilage in every school that lost power.